Sometimes people in recovery just want to get the process over with – put in their time at a rehab program and then head home. However, research shows – and experts agree – that an aftercare program is important because it helps prevent relapse. Relapse prevention is the main and most important reason for aftercare, but this kind of longer term program offers other benefits as well.
Prevent relapse. Relapse is a danger for anyone who has quit drugs or alcohol. However, it is much more likely for someone who rushes through treatment and then tries to get back to real life before they are ready. The stress and temptations of life can quickly overtake a person, drawing them back into addiction. On the other hand, someone who puts their time in, works hard, is dedicated to the program, and has support in place for after treatment will be much more likely to hold on to their sobriety.
Establish positive relationships. Aftercare helps build positive relationships. If you live in a sober living apartment or participate in an alumni group or other support group, you will get to know others in recovery. These relationships are vital to helping you achieve sustained recovery. These are the people you will go to when you feel especially tempted to use, and the role models you can emulate when you wonder if you are doing this whole sober thing right.
Build connections with those who can help. Aftercare also helps solidify connections with the recovery community. During aftercare, you participate in therapy with counselors when needed, and stay connected to other recovery staff who are there to help you succeed. When you are tempted to use your substance again, keeping these relationships strong can provide lasting support.
Learn to have fun. Aftercare can also show you what a fun, sober life is like. People don’t want to work for sobriety if they think life will be tedious or boring without using substances. It helps to know that a fun and satisfying life lies ahead of you. You just have to know how to achieve it. If you live in a sober home or surround yourself with sober individuals, you can learn a lot from these people about having good, clean fun. Maybe you can take a cooking or painting class together, go to a show, see a sporting event, or participate in another kind of sober activity that interests you. The important thing is to know a better life is out there, and you can learn much from those who have already achieved it.
Develop life skills. Sober living gives you many options for your future. Certain sober homes allow you to live for free or relatively cheap while you get back on your feet. Some of these options also give you support and help working on a resume, finding a job, getting into school, and learning a host of other life skills. These kinds of resources are important for your long-term success.
Aftercare does take dedication and it extends your recovery time to a certain extent, but the benefits are numerous. The reduced risk for relapse is the biggest reason aftercare is important, but those who make use of it will realize benefits that extend into their social, professional, financial, and emotional life as well, setting them up for a happier, more fulfilling life.
Sober Helpline works with treatment centers that offer a continuum of care, including aftercare and sober living options. To learn more about a treatment plan that is right for you, contact us at (888) 907-8039 today.